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  1. Lilly James Haro

    Lilly James Haro The Grey Warden

    Apr 26, 2014
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    Kirkwall, Free Marches, Thedas

    Past Contest Flash Fiction Contest #23 - "WHAT'S IN THE BOX?"

    Discussion in 'Monthly Flash Fiction Contest Archives' started by Lilly James Haro, May 3, 2015.

    And the theme for Flash Fiction Contest #23 is “WHAT’S IN THE BOX?” which was suggested by @J Faceless. Remember the word limit is 150-450 words and all entries must be posted anonymously in this thread by 6:00 pm EST May 23rd. Make sure to include the number of words and any warnings. You can also make your entry private simply by clicking more functions before posting, and click the box that makes the post viewable by "Members Only."

    Good Luck!
  2. Spencer Rose

    Spencer Rose Member

    May 6, 2015
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    Imagine (209 Words)

    The sleek little cruiser dipped out of the inky blackness of space. Nose tilted down, towards the blue green marble edging closer on the monitors, it slipped into the atmosphere. Alarms blared. The crackle of electricity cackled manically. Smoke filled the air.

    Captain Amelia Hemsworth grabbed for the helm, yanked back hard. The propulsion system was blown. Navigation was fried. Countless hails to ground control sputtered back garbled nonsense. She was alone, and going down fast. This was the end.

    The world shifted.

    Amelia stood inside the neat little kitchen of a cozy cottage. From the kitchen window she had a magnificent view of a pristine lawn, crisp and green. Beyond that a lake, shades of deep purple and blue, twinkled and danced beneath the warm summer sky. She could hear birdsong from the trees beyond, the peppered laughed of children outside. The aroma of fresh baked cookies wafted through the house. A wave of serenity washed over her.


    The world shifted.

    Her mother's face peered inside the dark cavern, the floor covered in crayons and crude splotches of blue and green.

    "Lunch is ready, sweetheart. What are you doing in there?"

    "Nothing." Said Amelia Hemsworth, five years old and full of secrets, "Just playing in my box."
  3. Megalith

    Megalith Contributor Contributor

    Jan 7, 2015
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    New Mexico

    The spiky red hair was his unique feature. He stood confident for being so short, and wore a very natural frown; you could imagine he was always mad at something. But what I was really interested in… was that box.

    This was the fourth time I’d seen him walking around with ’it’. The same thin straps used to carry that plain black box across his back. An urchin like myself doesn’t have to worry about drawing attention. We are purposefully ignored, and to some that would be a curse, but I found it useful. I decided to follow him, sticking to the shadows, eyes on my target.

    His pace quickened and I picked up mine to track him. I followed into a small alleyway, but he was gone. I cursed myself for not keeping up and turned back, only to find those furrowed dark green eyes staring, the kid asked, “Why are you following me?”

    “The real question is,” I smiled, “Why did you come back after you managed to escape?”

    “Oh?” The kid sounded bemused, “Why would I be scared of a beggar?”

    “Well boy,” I reached for a knife under my rugged coat, “Letting your guard down against anybody can be…”

    I rushed him, my blade pointed towards his chest. “Dead... ly?”

    With an unnaturally quick speed, he ducked under my blade, and I almost tripped as I slashed the air. His voice came from behind, “I never let my guard down.”

    “Don’t get cocky,” I aimed my knife, “Hand over that box.”

    “Hmm?” He cocked his head, “Alright… sure.”

    His compliance struck me as much as his speed, but he untied the box and set it on the ground. He gave me another hardened look, it was mixed with something subtle… guilt? using a quick series of jumps he disappeared above. That should have been enough. If he didn’t want me near this box, I wouldn’t have been able to stop him. Yet, why couldn’t I help myself? Before I knew it I was standing over the black box, looking down at it. My second thoughts didn’t deter me, I opened the lid, then looked inside.

    The kid returned; dried blood splattered over the narrow walls, covering everything within a few meters of the box. The box itself was pristine, “You satisfied?”

    “Yesss….” A crackling voice hissed from the box. “But why’d you take so long getting back?”

    “I hate to see you eat, especially someone innocent”

    “No... I’m the purifier.” The box hissed, “I clean this World of filth... and you protect me.”

    “I know…” The boy picked up the box, throwing it over his back, “Sometimes I wonder if it’s possible though… being innocent.”
  4. -oz

    -oz Active Member

    Jan 20, 2011
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    Pandora's Box [211 words]

    Her name was Pandora. Of course I gave her a box for her birthday.

    It was a puzzle box, the likes of which was simple enough to figure out, but only by either hours of experimenting or by dumb luck. Of course I placed something inside; curiosity creates fascination.

    As our romance grew, the box became a fading interest. Our fascination in each other blossomed into a beautiful relationship. Only rarely did she resume her attempts to open the box, and only then for a few minutes, randomly sliding pieces of it here and there.

    It was only on the night before our wedding, at the rehearsal dinner when the gifts were given to the guests, that I gave her the puzzle box again. She smiled, intrigued, and asked what was inside. I simply smiled back at her.

    She figured it out that night. I found out the next morning as I stood, drinking in her grace and beauty as she walked down the aisle. I noticed the necklace of hope that I had placed in the box, resting softly against her chest. I could see it in her eyes too: her longing for me was filled with pride, greed, lust, and passion.

    This was going to be an amazing honeymoon.
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  5. Aaron DC

    Aaron DC Contributor Contributor

    May 12, 2015
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    At my keyboard
    Paul [443 words]


    I’m not a patient man.


    Or at least I don’t remember being so.


    Mind you, I only know my name-


    -because they told me.






    I can’t seem to remember what now.


    The clock above my head continues its relentless march. The cold plastic of the chair beneath me won’t let forget that my gown is open at the back.

    I had clothes on when they found me, wandering down the middle of the highway into town.

    Clothes and a wallet. And not a clue where I was, who I was, or how I got here. Nothing.




    I must have looked a mess. The police picked me up. 3am. Apparently I’m from Los Angeles. 2000 miles away from Jack- … Jacks- … Jackson something. Dunno. Don’t remember.


    The intercom crackles into life and a voice overhead urges, “Dr Williams to the MRI suite. Paging Dr Williams, you’re wanted in the MRI suite”.


    The light is starting to hurt my eyes and I close them. Instant relief. I slowly tilt my head back and lean it against the wall.

    Footsteps walking towards me. A door opening. I ignore them. There’s an ache behind my eyes and for now, keeping them closed is best.

    More footsteps, and then a gentle query, “Paul?”

    I sit up and open my eyes to see a man standing before me. A doctor. Lab coat, brown corduroy pants, stethoscope.

    “How do you feel, Paul?”

    “I’m not sure.”

    “Can you stand up ok?”

    I answer by rising to my feet, and he beckons me to follow.

    “Your blood tests are back and they’re fine. Better than fine even.”

    A door opens as we draw near, and a much younger doctor holds it ajar as we enter. I see a name, “Williams” on his lab coat lapel.

    “Hello Paul.”

    He offers me his hand as the door closes behind us and I shake it.

    “I’m Dr Williams, but you can call me John”.

    “John,” I nod.

    There is a white, illuminated panel on one wall, and both doctors walk towards it.

    “Paul your MRI tests appear fine. No broken bones or internal injuries…” John’s voice trails off.

    “It’s just. Well. There’s something we’d like you to see.”

    He waves me over and points at something on the panel.

    “We’re wondering if you can tell us what this is?”

    I see pictures now. Black and white. It’s a skull. Front. Profile. Normal. Except… There’s a small, dark shape near the base in both pictures. Not just square. Perfectly square.

    A box.

    “Paul?” the young doctor quizzes me.

    “What’s in the box?”
  6. Hubardo

    Hubardo Contributor Contributor

    Feb 22, 2014
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    The Humans And Their Box
    (345 words)

    Milo was asleep on the basket of clean laundry when he heard an approaching pack of humans. His ears perked up. They were fast arriving toward the front door, and suddenly they were in the living room. A fat one in a colorful costume yelled about how a thing would happen, and another fat one in a differently colored costume yelled about how that thing could not possibly happen. A smaller one placed a case of aluminum cans on the table. Others found soft places to sit all around the room.

    Judy pointed the pointer thing at the box that always sat on a table against the wall. It was black and dead until they pressed buttons on the pointer thing, and then it would become loud and bright. Milo knew that the box mesmerized them but gave up years ago trying to figure out how or why. The best he could do was think that maybe it was like the human form of a sack of catnip; the sounds and sights of the black box made them act in ways they wouldn’t otherwise and once they were near it they had no control over themselves.

    This, Milo understood.

    And as Milo became used to the din of the humans having filled the living room, shouting at the box across a wide spectrum of emotions, he thought about the clean clothes in the basket below his body and imagined the pile to be one giant lump of catnip. His eyes drooped and came almost shut, and through the blur of his vision he wondered for just a moment not why or how the black box made the humans crazy, but instead he wondered what was inside of it. He knew something like catnip, but presumably more powerful, was in that box. But it wasn’t catnip because if it was, he would smell it and he would go wild from it just the same as them. What is in that thing? He asked himself as he dozed off into another mid-day nap. What’s in the box?
  7. Doug J

    Doug J Active Member

    Feb 21, 2008
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    Wisconsin, U.S.A.
    What’s in the box? (301 words - with apologies to Abbott and Costello and the 70’s band, America)

    “What’s in the box?”


    “I said, ‘what’s in the box’?”


    “Oh, you are so frustrating.”

    “How did you know?”

    “Well, I come this park and I see you sitting here with this box with some very nice pictures on the outside and I’m try to just make simple conversation, so I politely ask you a simple question and you refuse to answer. Harrumph! Frustrating!”

    “Yes? And I did answer you.”


    “You called me. Did you want something?”

    “I didn’t call you – I just said, ‘frustrating’.”


    “Look you idiot – I come over as a nice person. After a brief and incredibly stupid exchange, I finally am exasperated, and instead of cursing, I simply say that I’m frustrated! Do you understand why I’m frustrated?”

    “No. I didn’t know you were frustrated too.”


    “He’s in the box.”

    “What is in the box?”


    “And you say you’re frustrated?”

    “Yep – just like you I guess.”

    “Look, you have a nice box. Did you draw the pictures on the sides of the box?”


    “Well, I see that one of the pictures is of a horsey with a cactus in the background. Does your horse have a name?”


    “Will you tell me the name?”

    “I said, 'Sure'.”

    “So, what’s the horses name?”


    “No, you won’t tell me, or is he a horse with no name?”

    “I just told you his name.”

    “What did you say is name was?”

    “I said, ‘what’s in the box’.”

    “I don’t know! What’s in the box?”




    “Let’s start fresh. Forget what’s in the box.”

    “Okay, but he won’t like it.”

    “Who won’t like it?

    “Oh no, he’s perfectly fine with us forgetting what’s in the box.”

    “Who is?”

  8. BookLover

    BookLover Senior Member

    Mar 31, 2014
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    Bedtime [449 words]

    “The end. Time for bed.” The man slid out of the cramped, little bed and began to cover his son.

    “Wait! Where's my ninja turtle? I can't even sleep without Raphael.”

    “Is he under your pillow?” The man and boy began ruffling through the blankets and sheets.

    A woman's scream pierced the quiet air around them. “Another one, Mike. Another baby one. It's in the kitchen. Get it!”

    “I will, sweatheart. Let me tuck in Junior first.” He turned to his son. “Maybe Raphael fell under your bed.”

    “Oh no, the dragons live down there! I hope they didn't eat him.” The boy crawled off his bed and stuck his head underneath it. He pulled out a shoebox. “Hold this Daddy, but don't open it.”

    “What's in it?”

    “My pet, Fatty. Just don't even open it.” The boy stuck his head back under the bed. The dad peeked into the box. Finding it empty, he quickly replaced the lid. Junior was busy pulling out long strands of toilet paper.

    “Why is there toilet paper under your bed?”

    “Mama says I use too much. I clog the toilet a bunch of times. So now I give it to the dragons to eat.”

    “Don't put used toilet paper under your bed.”

    The boy pulled out a paper plate with a molded piece of cake on it. “Look, my birthday cake. You want to eat it, Daddy?”

    “Your birthday was a month ago. This is why we have rats! Don't put food under your bed or used toilet paper or anything, really.”

    The boy crawled farther under the bed, and popped back out with a triumphant smile and a plastic turtle in his hand. “I found Raphael!”

    Another scream echoed from the kitchen. Junior started stuffing the toilet paper back under his bed frame.

    “No, no, no. That goes in the trash. And so does the cake.”

    “What about Fatty?”

    “You can keep Fatty.” The man handed the shoebox back to his son. “I have no problem with an empty shoebox.”

    “Empty?” Junior pushed off the cardboard lid.

    “Is he your invisible pet?”

    The boy looked up. “Yeah, he's my pet. I found him outside. He was so fat, his tummy looked like it was about to pop, but he was easy to catch. I put him in this box, and I don't even know how he got out.” He threw the empty box over his shoulder and climbed on top of his mattress.

    “What is he? A dragon?” asked his father, pulling the blankets around his son's face.

    “No, a rat.”

    Another scream came from the kitchen. “There are babies everywhere! I've counted nine so far. Get in here, Mike!”
    Nicoel likes this.
  9. edamame

    edamame Contributor Contributor

    Apr 5, 2013
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    Curtain A or What's in the Box (415 Words)

    “Welcome back to What’s in the Box! The variety game show where you decide between A,” the emcee waved to a hot red Ferrari onstage as an example, “or–” he winked at the studio audience who shouted with him, “WHAT’S IN THE BOX!”

    “Now, let’s greet our final contestant.” The emcee threw an arm around my neck at the guest podium and poked me with his left antennae. “After thirty hours of playing, Mr. Herman Kneedle!”

    The audience hooted as a hovering spotlight lit me. I cringed. In my yellow tweed suit, I felt like I was slowly roasting in a volcano. I pulled my mother’s silk kerchief from my breast pocket and wiped the sweat off my brow. I touched my engagement ring for luck.

    “Now, Mr. Kneedle. You’ve declined the million dollars, the beach vacation, the –” the emcee paused and nearly choked me in his grip, “Ferrari…Just what are you playing for? How big is your greed?! You leech. You horrible Earthling!” He spat in my face, trembling with indignation.

    I shrank away from his embrace as the audience booed.

    “A liver,” I glanced at the teleprompter who rolled a tentacle furiously at me, “for my sick mother.”

    The audience gasped.

    The emcee turned mournfully to the cameras. “Alas, dear Marsians, the truth is revealed! With his mother near death, this humanoid, this brave human, entered our show to find impossible hope.” He shook his head as a few audience members wept. I tried to pry his arm off me. “But let’s move on, let's show Mr. Kneedle again what’s behind curtain A!”

    The audience oohed as a velvet curtain lifted to my right and revealed a set of kitchen knives.

    “Crafted from ceramic and honed by a master Japanese craftsman, these set of knives will never dull and make slashing easier than playing Pordie’s Puslack.”

    The audience chuckled. I gasped for air as he finally let me go.

    “So, Mr. Kneedle, what will you take?”

    “T-The box.”

    “WHAT?” The emcee glared.

    “I mean, I’ll take WHAT’S IN THE BOX!” I shouted.

    The audience applauded, stomping their feet in excitement as a large black box on center stage lifted, revealing a bound and gagged woman.

    I trembled in horror. “Sheryl!”

    The emcee grinned. “Congratulations, Mr. Kneedle! It seems you’ve finally won here on …” He pressed one of the knives into my hand as the audience cheered and urged in their seats above my frightened, screaming fiancée: “WHAT’S IN THE BOX!”
  10. Nicoel

    Nicoel Senior Member

    Jan 4, 2015
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    The Voices in my Head [251 words, occasional curse word]

    Dude, you don’t want to look in there, the box isn’t a box, its a thing.

    *snickers* you call that a beginning? That’s not a hook. That’s a flat line poked right through my brain so I don’t have to keep watching this shit.

    The box is dangerous. Everyone says so. I’m telling you, don’t open it.

    Ooh… Snooore. Bet there’s just a boogeyman inside, right? Typical horror writers. They’re insane. They keep trying the same tricks trying to get me. One day they’ll learn. I’m impenetrable.

    No, no, no! Don’t bang on it! Are you asking for trouble? Stop! Don’t hit me, I’m just trying to help!

    Of course he’s going to hit you, you numskull. You’re trying to stop him from releasing the ghostie!

    Now you’ve done it! Now you’ve done it! ... What do you mean? It’s empty? No. It's not.

    Yay! Now it’s time for me to make fun of the shitty special effects!

    Oh my God. It’s worse than I feared. Our father, who art in heaven, hollowed be thy name…

    What the hell is that?

    No, it’s too late now. You’ve done it. Just hold my hand and look at it straight – that’s all it wants. All it needs.

    What kind of sick fuck thought of putting that in a box for just anyone to come across? No one wants to see that.

    It’s beautiful in its own way, isn’t it? The silver shine…

    No! Don’t point it in my direction, I don’t want to see my ---
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